I’m all in
Brewery owner supports Yards plan
Let the boycott really begin!
Opponents of Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project renewed their
call for a boycott of Brooklyn Brewery beer after owner Steve Hindy officially
declared himself in favor of the $3.5-billion mega-development this week.
Hindy had toured the site of the project last week with members of Develop
Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, who hoped to persuade him that Ratner’s
plan was out-of-scale with the surrounding community.
But after the fact-finding mission, the beer meister — who last week
said he supported bringing the Ratner-owned New Jersey Nets to Brooklyn,
yet was neutral on the larger project — had the opposite reaction:
“After meeting with the opposition and touring the site, we are more
than ever convinced that the Atlantic Yards project is good for Brooklyn,”
Hindy told The Brooklyn Papers. “Not only will it bring a professional
basketball team, it also will bring much-needed affordable housing, jobs
and economic development to downtown Brooklyn.”
Hindy said he felt the need to clarify his position after critics complained
that no self-respecting Brooklynite could support bringing the Nets to
the borough, yet not have a position on the rest of the Atlantic Yards
His brewmaster, Garrett Oliver, had taken just such a position last month
in what he believed was a private email exchange with a disgruntled Brooklyn
But that was no private email exchange: An anti-project group, Fans for
Fair Play, leaked the e-mail to The Papers, which broke the “boycott
story last month.
“I live in the area and personally oppose the project,” Oliver,
a resident of Cobble Hill, wrote in the email. He did say that he supported
the arena, “if done right.”
Hindy’s delectable lagers, stouts, pilsners and ales had become the
target of the boycott after he invited team officials and Borough President
Markowitz to watch a Nets game and quaff his products at his Williamsburg
brewery last month.
“We supported the boycott from the start, but more so now that he
said he supports the project, despite our attempt to educate him about
its problems,” said Daniel Goldstein of Develop Don’t Destroy.
Scott Turner, whose Fans for Fair Play Web site began the “Think
Before You Drink” campaign, echoed Goldstein, saying, “It’s
unfortunate that Steve Hindy supports a project that will make Brooklyn
Hindy’s announcement comes just days after Fans for Fair Play released
the “Oliver Transcript.”
The brewmaster had strayed from the company’s existing line in the
exchange with angry beer drinker, Ian McLaughlin, who had emailed Oliver
that he would join the boycott because of the company’s “support
of Bruce Ratner’s stupid arena project.”
Most brewmasters would’ve hit delete and then checked the temperature
on the primary fermenter. But Oliver did what Brooklynites have always
done: he gave his opinion. But talking out of turn got Oliver into hot
wort with his boss.
“He went too far and he has apologized to me about it profusely,”
But he blamed McLaughlin for “hooking Garrett into” the e-mail
exchange. “I told Fans for Fair Play that they were ridiculous to
claim [Garrett] spoke for the brewery. I said, ‘If you want to do
that, I’ll put you in touch with our warehouse manager, too.’
Garrett was speaking for himself.”
Not that he’ll do much of that anymore, Hindy said, deflecting a
request to interview Oliver.
Despite the Fans for Fair Play call for a boycott, Brooklyn Lager is still
being sold at Freddy’s Bar, which is to the anti-Atlantic Yard side
what Rick’s Place was to exiles in Casablanca..
©2006 Community Newspaper Group